I am what you refer to as a gentile but I have an interest and cursory understanding of Kabbalah and the red string precept of pertinence to not judging others. i.e. Evil eye.

I've gone to great lengths to discipline my thought processes as they occur in my attempts to not judge others however I'm concerned that by not judging transgressors, I'm perpetuating the transgressions. It feels akin to inviting further transgression by not reacting as I conventionally would.

Where does non-judgment end and the intelligent defense of oneself begin?

Hypothetically, let's say an individual transgresses against me (slander, infidelity, violence et al.). Is the realistic expectation of further transgressions from an individual that has historically and consistently transgressed against me not a form of judgment? Are my attempts to neutralise the negative effects of the transgressor not predispositionally judgement based?

It feels unnatural and counter intuitive to suppress my anger towards my transgressors.

  • 2
    What exactly do you mean by "judgement"? Why do you say that "judging" is a bad thing?
    – Daniel
    Aug 26, 2015 at 23:32
  • Hello Clarus. Welcome to the site! Perhaps you would be interested in these other questions about the evil eye. Hope to see you around the site.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 27, 2015 at 0:17
  • @Daniel In elementary terms, my understanding is that any judgment I impart unto another is bilaterally returned to me as arbitrated by the esoteric mechanics of the universe. The dynamics of the principle, from what I've read, is not dissimilar to the law of reciprocity or the concept of karma. Therefore, judging can ultimately be construed as an act of self-sabotage. Bear in mind that my question is with reference to the ramification of "not judging". I fear that it will be my undoing in that it does little to dissuade my enemies and disempowers me in protecting myself and my interests. Aug 27, 2015 at 11:17
  • @mevaqesh Thanks. I'll actively monitor new questions posted under the Ayin Hara tag. Aug 27, 2015 at 11:39

1 Answer 1


I don't know or care about the Kabbala or red string business. I will also add that Jews absolutely do honorably serve on jury duty in the United States, and believe that because all humans are expected to have systems of justice, it is absolutely allowed -- and required -- to apply whatever judgement (e.g. beyond reasonable doubt) is necessary for that system of justice.

We do have a law called "judge your fellow righteously", as pertains to non-governmental settings. (E.g. how do you react when you see your friend doing something that looks wrong?) Let's talk about that.

The work Chafetz Chaim (about a hundred years ago, focused on ethical speech) says that for a righteous person, you should judge their actions as favorable unless it's incredibly, incredibly implausible to do so. (You saw him eating a cheeseburger? Is it possible he had an ulcer, low blood sugar, or other medical condition?)

For an average person, you apply a moderate degree of favor when judging. ("Maybe he was having a rotten day.") And for someone presumed wicked, you're not expected to make any effort to judge favorably.

Lastly -- and this is super important -- I am allowed and expected to take defensive action in a wide variety of circumstances. If I hear there's a history of cash suddenly disappearing around Joe, I can mentally say "I don't know if the rumors are true or what to make of them", but at the same time I can totally lock up my valuables when he's visiting!

At the end of II Kings we are told that the Jewish viceroy over Israel, Gedaliah, heard a rumor of palace plot to assassinate him, which he promptly ignored. "I don't listen to slander! I judge everyone favorably!" He was in the wrong (and paid for it with his life). He could have said "I don't know what to make of the rumors, but I will hire some extra bodyguards just in case."

  • Thank you for sharing your wisdom, particularly so for introducing me to the moral of Gedaliah's imprudence. Where in the spectrum of Judaism does the red string precept reside? Is it but a fringe superstition? Furthermore, is Kabbalah not considered to be the apex of Judaism? I ask these two questions in direct response to the first line of your answer. Can you exposit, with specificity, why you're so quick and unequivocal in dismissing both practices? I'm not challenging your reasoning; I merely wish to understand it. Aug 27, 2015 at 11:33
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    @ClarusDignus Kabbalah iscertainly not considered the apex of Judaism. It does have some importance although most Jews never study it in depth. Traditionally, Kabbalah was something that was not even touched until one had a very near complete mastery of the more fundamental parts of Judaism. In modern times, it has become common to teach a corrupted version of Kabbalah that is supposedly "independent" of Judaism to non-Jews and irreligious Jews. That Kabbalah has nothing to do with Judaism and at worst, is a complete scam. The red string thing is also at best a superstition and at worst a scam
    – Daniel
    Aug 27, 2015 at 11:57
  • @ClarusDignus what Daniel said. Rabbi Adin Shteinzaltz (who has mastered the traditional Jewish corpus, e.g. the Talmud, and then classical sources of kabbala, e.g. the Zohar) has commented: "today's pop kabbala is to religion what pornography is to love."
    – Shalom
    Aug 27, 2015 at 12:46
  • @Daniel I feared as much. I imagine a litany of convoluted interpolations, disinformation and perhaps even counter-intelligence exists on the subject matter of Kabbalah. Much of it seems unashamedly meshed with new age ideologies. I feel innately drawn towards the esoteric practices of the occult system of Kabbalah (and alchemy incidentally). As abstract as this may sound, I sense at the core of my being that Kabbalistic teachings pave the path towards my transcending of my earthbound corporeal form and coming to know myself through simultaneously knowing G-d. I feel as if it's an imperative. Aug 27, 2015 at 12:50
  • @Shalom I can appreciate the contextual superficiality of a Western, pop-cultural, dilution of a legitimate body of gnosis. Can Kabbalah not be understood by bypassing the seemingly prerequisite submission to the doctrines of contemporary organised religions? It is my concern that much of the doctrine of man, in all his pettiness and misgivings, has come to be confused with the unadulterated doctrine of G-d. e.g. In studying man's inception, I curtail my research to Ancient Babylon, the Sumerians and the Epic of Gilgamesh rather than the prediluvian accounts of the Old Testament. Aug 27, 2015 at 13:01

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